When Crowded House used to sing ‘It’s Only Natural’, they were talking about how they wanted to be close to a woman, but the band could just as easily have been singing about Adolf Joubert’s company, Afrinatural Holdings. The business supplies South African botanicals to the international phyto-medicine, natural cosmetics, teas and health food industries, both in bulk and in value-added products like extracts, tinctures, capsules, tablets, lotions and teas. Adolf adds that some 70% of the company’s turnover comes from exports. He points out that although there is a level of international ignorance of Africa as a source of products, not to mention a lack of political will to assist SMEs in exports and rural economic development and job creation, the business is nonetheless going strong. Not only does Afrinatural contribute significantly to the health and general wellbeing of its customers, but more critically, says Adolf, for every additional R1 million turnover, the business creates approximately 20 sustainable, full-time jobs for unskilled workers in rural communities. There is no doubt that the worldwide economic credit crunch has had a negative impact on the credit available to bulk buyers, he says, and as a small business, he cannot afford to supply this credit. However, it is not all doom and gloom, as he believes that the growing awareness that natural alternatives in health exist is constantly creating bigger opportunities for his business. The proof of this is that exports have been growing by 50%, year on year and it is growth that remains sustainable. Of course, he says, it is equally important to grow the local market, which remains one of his key drivers for the future: he not only wants to grow the local sector by 300%, but also aims to be seen as the preferred supplier of African botanicals.